Simply put, I, Frankenstein is an absolutely terrible movie.
But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see it. If you modify your expectations, knowing at the outset that you’re going to see a terrible movie, you can have fun with it. You just have to stop cringing first. The plot is a confusing, terrible muddle involving Frankenstein’s monster (named Adam), demons from Hell, and gargoyles who exist to protect mankind from the demons (but they’re not angels). Thematically, it’s an appalling mishmash further confused by awful dialogue and a silly backstory. Despite all that, I was entertained. I’d see a sequel if they made one (which they won’t).
- Aaron Eckhart: A fine actor, he was completely wasted in this film. We’ll ignore the strange scars his character Adam was forced to bear other than to suggest that Doctor Frankenstein was an unbelievably incompetent stitcher and couldn’t find a single clean face to put on his creation. Eckhart tried, he really did, but he was given such terrible lines that not even he could save them. To his dubious credit, Eckhart never once descended into the smart-alecky humor that made him so watchable in Thank You for Smoking. The film was far too earnest and grim for that.
- Everyone Else: Miranda Otto (Eowyn) was the Gargoyle Queen. She was also schizophrenic to the point of making no sense at all. Bill Nighy did his usual sinister upper-class Brit schtick. Yvonne Strahovski added no charm at all to an entirely useless role. The only stand-out was Jai Courtney as Gideon, the mean gargoyle. He did a great job and added actual depth to his role; a Heavenly miracle, of sorts. It helped that he was such a cool character from Spartacus: that just sort of bled over.
- The Script: Ignore it. Everything everyone says is extremely silly, but they say it with such gravity. If at any point you think somebody’s going to say something interesting, you’re wrong. Recalibrate your expectations. When it isn’t cliche, it’s stupid. The thing is, they believe it’s meaningful, even if you don’t. So don’t worry about it. This goes double for the plot. It’s hopeless. Imagine if Mary Shelley wrote a sequel to Frankenstein while high on opium. Then someone photocopied a mirror image of it and threw it in a wood chipper with a copy of the Bible. Finally, a chimpanzee scotch-taped the bits together larger than a thumbnail, and that’s your plot.
- Fight, Fight, Fight: This is the real reason to see this film. If you liked the fight scenes from Blade, you’ll dig this movie. I practiced serrada escrima several years ago, just enough to get some sinawali patterns and flow drills down, and the Kali-style fighting Adam did in the movie was a real treat to watch. They even did some punyo-work in the fight scenes. You know where the special effects budget went, and they squeezed every nickel out of it to great effect.
It’s terrible. See it anyway.